Friday, October 24, 2014

314. How To Enter the Dragon: BRUCE LEE KEY CHAIN

Saw this cheap, plastic martial arts key chain in a Cubao thrift shop. The small, 2.5 in. figure is gold painted, and I assumed it to be Bruce Lee, who first appeared as Kato on the Green Hornet 60s TV series. Of course, he is better known as THE kung-fu master of all times! The figure holds a pair of nanchuks (chaku) and is poised to demolish the door if the key doesn't work! Bruce Lee souvenirs--as well as martial arts collectibles, are not hot items at the moment, but that doesn't matter--it's picking for cheap collectibles that gives me a kick!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

313. Advertique: AN ABOGADO'S TRADE SIGN

There was a time when it was popular to advertise your professional services via signboards often posted on the front of your residences for all the world to see your title and your degree--from Comadrona, Dentista, Medico to Abogado or Notario Publico. Of course, services are advertised more conveniently now online--in such special sites as Linked and in many profession-specific websites. But back then, you would see painted signs on tin and wood such as this--picked from Manila--artistically framed and lettered, examples of vintage signage art made extinxt with new technology like computer-designed and weather-proofed tarpaulins. Of course, there was an impulse to google Abogado Silverio S. Tayao  on google, and a wealth of information was gathered online: Atty. Tayao came from Malolos and was admitted to the Philippine Bar on 24 January 24, 1955. He rose to become a Judge in Makati.  I was glad to know that he is still active, with offices in Salcedo Village, also in Makati. But I am sure his office sign is much more attractive than this, perhaps of gleaming chrome and steel, for better visibility and presentation. I'd much rather stick to his tin sign, when billboards, signs and posters were all done by hand, making them truly, one of a kind!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

312. YOU'RE A KEWPIE DOLL!

"Cute as a Kewpie!"
Kewpies were initially conceived as comic strip characters by artist,  Rose O'Neill. The name "Kewpie" it is said, was derived from "Cupid"-- also depicted in mythology as a youn child, naked and winged. The cartoons began to gain popularity after the publication of O'Neill's comic strips in 1909, and thereafter, paper doll versions of the Kewpies were made. The characters were first produced as bisque dolls in Germany beginning in 1912, and became extremely popular in the early twentieth century.Later, they were made from composition, celluloid, hard plastic, soft rubber and vinyl.
KEWPIES made in Germany. With and without the identifying Kewpie heart label. PICTURE SOURCE:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kewpie

The earlier bisque and composition versions of Kewpie dolls are widely sought-after by collectors--and this  7-inch German-made example was a prize find from a local antique shop. Versions were made without the identifying Kewpie heart label found on the doll's chest, but all have the same characteristics: protruding belly, googlie eyes, stubby arms and little back wings. Kewpies have become part of our pop culture--used as mascots, in advertising, art,  and even in songs!

Friday, October 3, 2014

311. Advertique: PLANTERS PEANUTS' PRES. OF U.S.A. PAINT BOOK

One of the earliest Chirstmas gifts I can remember was a 1960s coloring book of the U.S. Presidents given out by Planter's Peanuts---that peanut company with that ever-present Mr. Peanut mascot gracing the front page. The coloring book, purchased by my Mother from Johnny's grocery in downtown Angeles City, featured all the American presidents--from Washington to Kennedy. It was one of the few color books that I did not keep, so when I found this smaller paint book version--I knew this would be a perfect substitute!
Planters Peanuts was founded by Italian Amedeo Obici in 1906, in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. In 1916 the company held a contest to create a company logo and the contest was won by a 14 year old . schoolboy named Antonio Gentile who drew a Peanut Man. Artist Frank P. Krize, Sr., improved it by adding a top hat, a monocle, and a cane to the drawing, and Mr. Peanut was born. By the mid-1930s, the raffish figure had come to symbolize the entire peanut industry, appeared on packages, advertising and premium items like this paint book.
The paint book features side-by-side illustrations of the U.S. presidents--one in black and white and one in color, to be used as a color guide. Defining events from the president's term are also drawn; in the case of Pres. Kennedy, the age of space exploration is shown. The paint book is unused and dates before Kennedy's assassination.
Planters Peanut products were available in limited quantities in the Philippines--through the military PX goods mostly. Even today, Planters are imported, available in select groceries and supermarkets like S& R. It just goes to show how popular the brand has become globally, with Mr. Peanut winning acclaim as one of the most recognized character trademark in marketing history.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

310. When Bobbysox Music Ruled: RHYTHM TOTE

For almost all teens of the Baby Boomer years, music was an essential part of their life. It was the Age of Rock 'n Roll, of Paul Anka, Everly Bros., Frankie Avalon, Shelley Fabares, Fabian and Chubby Checkers--and of course, Elvis! American bandstand ruled the airwaves and millions of teens couldn't get enough of the bubblegum and bobbysox music that they sang and danced to, in their shindigs and barn dances. They took along their 45 RPMs in vinyl cases such as this "Rhythm Tote", when they gather 'round to share and review songs about heartaches, cheating hearts, hound dogs and puppies in the window. This cheap mid-century relic held 14 records in brown paper envelopes, plus an index page you can write on. Made by Teen Time Products in Rhode Island, it has a current market value of about $20.  Just 8.75 in. x 7.5 in., the "Rhythm Tote" is  a wonderful nostalgic record case to store those special memories in!

Friday, September 19, 2014

309. So Big, Yet So Little: BIG LITTLE BOOKS

I found this neat cache of books in a little shop called Round Trip Collectibles--a collectible store in Metuchen, years ago. I think I paid 5 dollars for the lot--7 Big Little Books, as old as the late 1930s and as recent as the late 60s (in the case of Batman). These kiddie readings saw print first in 1932, published by the Whitman Publishing Company of Racine, Wisconsin. They were small, they were compact and had simple captioned drawings opposite each page of the text. They soon became big hits among children, so competitor like Saalfield, copied this format. Back then, each book cost just 10 cents each.  Great graphics, great stories, great size and price...what more can you ask for in a book?

Friday, September 12, 2014

308. The Midnight Special: CAPT. MIDNIGHT "MYSTERY DIAL CODE-O-GRAPH"

Captain Midnight was a popular U.S. radio series that began in 1938 in Chicago, created by Robert M. Burtt and Wilfred G. Moore. At the onset, "Captain Midnight" was simply an undercover name for pilot  Jim "Red" Albright. As an agent, he helped gather information to capture criminals. Captain Midnight was constantly trying to stop the plans of the evil Ivan Shark, remaining his evil nemesis throughout its radio run. He found help in Chuck Ramsey,a member of his Secret Squadron and Patsy Donovan. The series grew in popularity and was broadcast over the Mutual Network beginning in 1940 sponsored by Ovaltine.
The company had been looking for a heroic figure to sponsor their product, Ovaltine, as the country seemed headed for World War. Continuing the tradition of their previous series, Radio Orphan Annie, the company began to integrate coded messages and club identification into the episodes--brass examples of which were given out to viewers as premiums.
The "Mystery Dial Code-o-Graph" , first given in December 1940, was so called because the center of the inner disc was supposed to look like the dial knob of a radio. It was used to send a secret message to listeners about the next program episode. To decode, one had to turn the dial, which  proved to be a chore, what with the setting windows located at the back. The secret messages to decode were always given at the end as a "Secret Squadron Signal Session.".
The brass decoder has a slot for Capt. Midnight's picture (missing) and came with a manual, such as the one you see here. This highly prized radio collectible--available on ebay from a low of $69.95 to a high of $139--without a manual, was purchased complete and intact in its own envelope, originally addressed to a young radio fan from New Jersey.